Mid-Michigan community mourns loss of religious leader killed in collision on US-127

Mid-Michigan community mourns loss of religious leader killed in collision on US-127
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 10:57 PM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Father David Hudgins, Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Lansing and Pastor of Saint Joseph Shrine in Brooklyn, died Monday morning.

Original story: 53-year-old priest killed in Jackson County collision on US-127, Diocese of Lansing says

Police said he lost control of his vehicle lost control on a patch of ice on US-127, crossed the median and rolled over.

Jason and Amanda Venema look back on their wedding day not just as the day Hudgins married them, but became a lifelong friend.

“We’ve got the recording of it and we watch it every year on our anniversary,” Jason Venema said. “And that’s always been kind of a special thing for us to associate him with our wedding day.”

Tuesday, they remembered Hudgins as a leader and friend who will be missed by so many.

“It’s a tremendous loss to everybody to have gotten that news yesterday that he had that tragic car accident,” Amanda Venema said.

Hudgins’ influence spanned multiple congregations over his career. He was a priest for at least 20 years before he passed away.

Amanda said the news of his passing has sent shockwaves through the entire Catholic community of Mid-Michigan.

“I think that’s why he attracted such a large amount of different kinds of people, because he just had that way of listening to you and looking at you and hearing your story,” Amanda said.

“He somehow managed to strike a balance between having a big personality and but also being genuine and caring,” Jason recalled. “So he wasn’t overwhelming like a big personality can sometimes be. He was very genuine.”

The couple said Hudgins was one of a kind, whose charisma and humor made him a great leader. Those that worked with him said it will be impossible to fill his shoes.


“There’s less priests per Catholics than ever and, just on a personnel loss, I don’t know that we’ll get over it,” said father Joe Kurpp. “I know that sounds crazy but that’s how tough the numbers are.”

Kurpp said the Diocese will move forward, but they will never forget their college and dear friend.

“I think the biggest thing is he was just rare,” Kurpp said. “And I think anytime you lose somebody that rare it’s hard.”

A visitation for Hudgins will take place 2-7 p.m. Friday at St. Joseph Shrine, located at 8743 US-12 in Brooklyn.

His Funeral Mass will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary Cathedral, located at 219 Seymour Ave. in Lansing.

He will be buried at St. Joseph Shrine.

More: Jackson news

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